Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she feared “white supremacist” colleagues would put her in harm’s way during the siege of the Capitol and other House Democrats suggested the rioters had inside help from members of Congress.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she thought she was going to die at one point and that it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that many members of the House were nearly assassinated.
She didn’t feel safe going to an “extraction point” because of “QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers,” she said.
“And, frankly, white supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know and who I have felt would disclose my location, who would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped etcetera,” the New York Democrat said this week on Instagram Live. “And so I didn’t even feel safe around other members of Congress.”
Her office did not respond to questions on which members she was referring to or whether she’s referred her complaints to law enforcement.
The Democrat-led House voted Wednesday to impeach President Trump for a second time, charging him with inciting the mob that attacked the Capitol.
During the floor debate on impeachment, House Republicans took umbrage at the notion that they participated in or even tacitly approved of the violence and destruction last week.
“Republicans have been consistent. We’ve condemned all the violence all the time,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican. “We condemned it last summer. We condemned it last week. We should be focused on bringing the nation together.”
Other House Democrats alluded to unnamed members who supposedly led groups of people through the U.S. Capitol the day before the attack on what the Democrats said were preparatory missions.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill said there were “members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 — a reconnaissance for the next day.”
Congress members routinely give tours of the Capitol to guests visiting Washington, though the building has been much emptier during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms. Sherrill, New Jersey Democrat, made the comments in a Facebook Live address to constituents.
She did not name the members but said she would work to expel them from Congress if necessary.
On Wednesday, Ms. Sherrill and more than 30 other House Democrats wrote to the acting House and Senate Sergeants at Arms and the U.S. Capitol Police to request an investigation into the “suspicious behavior and access” given to visitors on Jan. 5.
“Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex,” they wrote.
The members said the “extremely high” number of outside groups in the complex on Jan. 5 was all the more striking because of the limitation on visitors due to the public health crisis.
Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohio Democrat, said he heard a “couple” of names attached to such stories.
“I’m going to wait to make sure we get verification. I don’t want to throw any member under the bus,” he said. “This has been passed on … as early as Wednesday night, Thursday morning last week.”
“It’s like everything now. You look back on certain things and you look at them differently,” Mr. Ryan said. “We’re looking into it.”
Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana said in his final floor speech that some of his colleagues “may well be co-conspirators” in the Jan. 6 attack.
Mr. Richmond is leaving Congress to become the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Biden administration.
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